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job today without some higher education, so we've helped more students go to college with grants and loans that go farther than before. we've made it more practical to repay those loans and today more students are graduating from college than ever before. we're also pursuing an aggressive strategy to promote innovation that reins in tuition cost. we have a lower cost so young people are not burdened by enormous debt when they make the right decision to get higher education. and next week, michelle and i will bring together college presidents and non-profits to lead a campaign to help more low-income students attend and succeed in college. but -- [ applause ] while higher education may be the surest path to the middle class, it's not the only one. so we should offer our people the best technical education in the world. that's why we've worked to connect local businesses with community colleges so workers, young and old, can earn the new
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skills that earn them more money. and i've also embraced an idea that i know all of you at the center for american progress have championed. and by the way, republican governors in a couple of states have championed. that's making high-quality preschool available to every child in america. [ applause ] we know that kids in these programs grow up likely to get more education, earn higher wages, form more stable families of their own. it starts a virtuous cycle, not a vicious one. and we should invest in that. we should give all of our children that chance. as we empower our young people for future success, the third
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part of this middle-class economics is empowering our workers. it's time to ensure our collective bargaining laws function as they're supposed to so unions have a level playing field to organize for a better deal for workers and better wages for the middle class. it's time to pass the paycheck fairness act so women will have more tools to fight pay discrimination. it's time to pass the employment nondiscrimination act so workers can't be fired for who they are or who they love. and even though we're bringing manufacturing jobs back to america, we're creating more good paying jobs in education and health care and business services. we know that we're going to have a greater and greater portion of our people in the service
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sector. and we know that there are airport workers and fast food workers and nurse assistants and retail sales people who work their tails off and are still living at or barely above poverty. and that's why it's well past the time to raise a minimum wage that in real terms right now is below where it was when harry truman was in office. [ applause ] this shouldn't be an ideological question. you know, it was adam smith, the father of free-market economics, who once said, they who feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of the people should have such a share of the produce of their own labor as to be themselves,
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toll a bli well fed, clothes, and lodged. for those of you who don't speak old english, let me translate. it means if you work hard, you should make a decent living. if you work hard, you should be able to support a family. we all know the arguments that have been used against a higher minimum wage. some say it actually hurts low-wage workers. businesses will be less likely to hire them. there's no solid evidence that a higher minimum wage costs job, and research shows it raises incomes for low-wage workers and boosts short-term economic growth. [ applause ] others argue that if we raise the minimum wage, companies will just pass those costs on to consumers. but a growing chorus of businesses, small and large,
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argue differently. already there are extraordinary companies in america that provide decent wages, salaries and benefits and training for their workers and deliver a great product to consumers. rei offers retirement plans and strives to cultivate a good work balance. there are companies out there that do right by their workers. they recognize that paying a decent wage actually helps their bottom line, reduces turnover. it means workers have more money to spend, to save, maybe eventually start a business of their own. a broad marchty of americans agree we should raise the minimum wage. that's why last month voters in new jersey decided to become the 20th state to raise theirs even higher. that's why yesterday the d.c. council voted to do it too. i agree with those voters.
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i agree with those voters, and i'm going to keep pushing until we get a higher minimum wage for hard-working americans across the entire country. it will be good for our economy. it will be good for our families. [ applause ] number four, as i alluded to earlier, we still need targeted programs for the communities and workers that have been hit hardest by economic change in the great recession. these communities are no longer limited to the inner city. they're found in neighborhoods hammered by the housing crisis, manufacturing towns hit hard by years of plants packing up, land-locked rural areas where young folks oftentimes feel like they've got to leave just to find a job. they're communities that just aren't generating enough jobs anymore. so we put forward new plans to help these communities and their
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residents because we've watched cities like pittsburgh or my hometown of chicago revamp themselves. if we give more cities the tools to do it, not handouts but a hand up, cities like detroit can do it too. so in a few weeks, we'll announce the first of these promise zones, urban and rural communities where we'll support local efforts focused on a national goal. that is, a child's course in life should not be determined by the zip code he's born in but by the scope of his dreams. [ applause ] and we're also going to do more for the long-term unemployed. you know, for people who have been out of work for more than six months, often through no fault of their own, life is a catch 22. companies won't give their resume an honest look because they've been laid off so long. but they've been laid off so
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long because companies won't give their resume an honest look. that's why earlier this year i challenged ceos from some of america's best companies to give these americans a fair shot. next month, many of them will join us at the white house for an announcement about this. fifth, we've got to revamp retirement to protect americans in their golden years to make sure another housing collapse doesn't steal the savings and their homes. we've also got to strengthen our safety net for a new age so it doesn't just protect people who hit a run of bad luck from falling into poverty but also propels them back out of poverty. today nearly half of full-time workers and 80% of part-time workers don't have a pension or retirement account at their job. about half of all households don't have any retirement savings. so we're going to have to do more to encourage private savings and shore up the promise of social security for future
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generations. and remember, these are promises we make to one another. we don't do it to replace the free market but to reduce risk in our society by giving people the ability to take a chance and catch them if they fall. one study shows that more than half of americans will experience poverty at some point during their adult lives. think about that. this is not an isolated situation. more than half of americans at some point in their lives will experience poverty. that's why we have nutrition assistance or the program known as s.n.a.p., because it makes a difference for a mother who's working but is just having a hard time putting food on the table for her kids. that's why we have unemployment insurance, because it makes a difference for a father who lost his job and is out there looking for a new one that he can keep a roof over his kids' heads. by the way, christmas time is no time for congress to tell more
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than 1 million of these americans that they have lost their unemployment insurance, which is what will happen if congress does not act before they leave on their holiday vacation. [ applause ] the point is, these programs are not typically hammocks for people to just lie back and relax. these programs are almost always temporary means for hard-working people to stay afloat while they try to find a new job or are going to school to retrain themselves for the jobs that are out there. or sometimes just to cope with a bout of bad luck. progressives should be open to reforms that actually strengthen these programs and make them more responsive to a 21st century economy. for example, we should be willing to look at fresh ideas to revamp unemployment and disability programs, to encourage faster and higher rates of reemployment without cutting benefits.
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we shouldn't weaken fundamental protections built over generations. because given the constant churn in today's economy and the disabilities that many of our friends and neighbors live with, they're need more than ever. we should strengthen them and adapt them to new circumstances so they work even better. but understand that these programs of social insurance benefit all of us because we don't know when we might have a run of bad luck. we don't know when we might lose a job. of course, for decades, there was one gap in the safety net that did more than anything else to expose working families to the insecurities of today's economy. mainly our broken health care system. that's why we fought for the affordable care act. because 14,000 americans --
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[ applause ] because 14,000 americans lost their health insurance every single day. even more died each year because they didn't have health insurance at all. we did it because millions of families who thought they had coverage were driven into bankruptcy by out-of-pock costs they didn't realize they would be there. tens of millions couldn't get any coverage at all. dr. king once said, of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane. well, not anymore. [ applause ] in the three years since we passed this law, the share of americans with insurance is up, the growth of health care costs are down to their slowest rate
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in 50 years, more people have insurance, and more have new benefits and protections. 100 million americans have gained the right for free preventive care. more than 7 million americans have saved an average of $1200 on their prescription medicine. every american who won't go broke when they get sick because their insurance can't limit their care anymore. more people without insurance have gained insurance. more than 3 million young americans have been able to stay on their parents' plan. the more than half a million americans and counting who are poised to get coverage starting on january 1st, some for the very first time. and it is these numbers, not the ones in any poll, that will ultimately determine the fate of this law. [ applause ] it's the measurable outcomes and reduced bankruptcies and reduced
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hours that have been lost because somebody couldn't make it to work and healthier kids with better performance in schools and young entrepreneurs who have the freedom to go out there and try a new idea. those are the things that will ultimately reduce a major source of inequality and help ensure more americans get the start they need to succeed in the future. i've acknowledged more than once that we didn't roll out parts of this law as well as we should have, but the law's already working in major ways that benefit millions of americans right now, even as we've begun to slow the rise in health care costs, which is good for family budgets, good for federal and state budgets, and good for the budgets of businesses small and large. so this law is going to work. for the sake of our economic security, it needs to work. [ applause ] and as people in states as different as california and kentucky sign up every single
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day for health insurance, signing up in droves, they're proving they want that economic security. if the senate republican leader still thinks he's going to be able to repeal this some day, he might want to check with the more than 60,000 people in his home state who are already set to finally have coverage that frees them from the fear of financial ruin and lets them afford to take their kids to see a doctor. [ applause ] so let me end by addressing the elephant in the room here, which is the seeming inability to get anything done in washington these days. i realize we are not going to resolve all of our political debates over the best ways to reduce inequality and increase upward mobility this year or next year or in the next five
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years. but it is important that we have a serious debate about these issues. for the longer that current trends are allowed to continue, the more it will feed the cynicism and fear many americans are feeling right now, that they'll never be able to repay the debt today took on to go to college. they'll never be able to save enough to retire. they'll never see their own children land a good job that supports a family. and that's why even as i will keep on offering my own ideas for expanding opportunity, i'll also keep challenging and welcoming those who oppose my ideas to offer their own. if republicans have concrete plans that will reduce inequality, build the middle class, promild more ladders of opportunity to the poor, let's hear them. i want to know what they are. if you don't think we should raise the minimum wage, let's hear your idea to increase
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people's earnings. if you don't think every child should have access to preschool, tell us what you'd do differently to give them a better shot. if you still don't like obama care, and i know you don't, even though it's built on market-based ideas of choice and competition in the private sector, then you should explain how exactly you'd cut costs and cover more people and make insurance more secure. you owe it to the american people to tell us what you are for not just what you're against. [ applause ] that way we can have a vigorous and meaningful debate. that's what the american people deserve. that's what the times demand. it's not enough anymore to just say we should get our government
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out of the way and let the unfettered market take care of it. for our experience tells us that's just not true. look, i've never believed that government can solve every problem or should. and neither do you. we know that ultimately our strength is grounded in our people, individuals out there striving, working, making things happen. it depends on community, a rich and generous sense of community. that's at the score of what happens here every day. you understand that turning back rising inequality and expanding opportunity requires parents taking responsibility for their kids, requires civic organizations that can help
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train the unemployed, link them with businesses for the jobs of the future. it requires companies and ceos to set an example by providing decent wages and salaries and benefits for their workers and a shot for somebody who's down on his or her luck. we know that's our strength, our people, our communities, our businesses. but government can't stand on the sidelines in our efforts. because government is us. it can and should reflect our deepest values and commitments. if we refocus our energies on building an economy that grows for everybody and gives every child in this country a fair chance at success, then i remain confident that the future still looks brighter than the past and that the best days for this country we love are still ahead. thank you, everybody.
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god bless you. god bless america. >> that was president obama, who just finished a landmark speech on inequality, economic fairness, and opportunity, speaking in one of the poorest areas of the nation's capital. the president's remarks come at a time when 11.5 million americans cannot find a job and workers' wages have never been lower. at the same time, corporate profits are soaring and the stock market is regularly hitting all-time highs. these disparities have become too stark to ignore, and in his speech, the president issued something of a warning call for the american dream. >> the basic bargain at the heart of our economy has frayed. the idea that so many children are born into poverty in the wealthiest nation on earth is heartbreaking enough. but the idea that a child may never be able to escape that poverty because she lacks a decent education or health care or a community that views her future as their own, that should offend all of us. and it should compel us to
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action. >> president obama did not introduce any new policies, but he did reiterate his strong support for raising the federal minimum wage, which stands at a paltry $7.25 an hour. >> there are fast food workers and airport workers and retail sales assistants who work their tails off and are still living at or barely above poverty. that's why it's well past the time to raise a minimum wage that in real terms right now is below where it was when harry truman was in office. if you work hard, you should be able to support a family. >> polls consistently show that the economy remains the single biggest concern for americans, and now more than ever the concept of a living wage seems to be gaining ground. adjusted for inflation, today's federal minimum wage is a full $3.50 less than the minimum wage of 1968, which stood at $10.60 an hour. for the past month, senate
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democrats have been working to pass a measure to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour, a plan the white house has now endorsed. already this year, five states have passed measures to raise the minimum wage, something workers across the country have been demanding for months. tomorrow fast food workers in about 100 cities are planning to walk off the job to highlight the struggles of living on $7.25 an hour. joining me today, washington bureau chief of the huffington post, ryan grimm, managing director of global strategy group and senior fellow for the center for american progress action fund, bill burton, and managing editor of the grio, joy reed. and joining me from the white house is cnbc chief washington correspondent, john harwood. john, i go to you first. in terms of the white house message on this, this is the first offensive play, and i mean that in terms of offense/defense, we've seen from the white house in a long time. and for those of us who paid
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close attention two years ago, it's very much an echo of president obama's major vision for the country, is it not? >> no question about it. it's been his vision really throughout the time he's been in public life. i remember interviewing president obama about income inequality in the fall of 2007. what he was doing in this speech is making a broad argument for government action across the board, not just on things like the minimum wage, but also domestic investments and infrastructure and education, job training. also his health care law. he's always seen the aforfordab care act as one element of an agenda to give a foundation of stability and security economically under people as they try to get into the middle class. he was reiterating that argument today. as you said, the shift to a more offensive argument shows how key it was to get that website working by the december 1st deadline because that is something that allows the administration to shift and make
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a different kind of argument. we will see, of course, whether or not as the president pointed out in his speech, whether they achieve the enrollment numbers and the mix of enrollment, the kind of people they want enrolling in those exchanges to make them financially viable, but he's making an argument that once that takes place, if it takes place, that this is one piece of that agenda to try to narrow the gap that's been part of american society, a growing part, for a generation. >> bill, you know, john rightly points out the question over enrollment numbers is not an answered one. i think for a lot of us who stood on the sidelines and watched as this white house muddled through the last two month, it was actually incredibly relieving to see the president put the aca, that is a huge puzzle piece, but part of a larger infrastructure, if you will, around economic security and upward mobility. i thought that was great. again, relieving, but also the way that he did it sort of at the end, what he said about republicans and put them on defense for the first time in a long time, which was if you
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don't like these ideas, what is your plan? >> right. economic inequality is something that the president's been talking about, like john said, the whole time he's been in public life. it's what he worked on when he was a community organizer back in chicago. so the speech today is the culmination of a lot of years of putting together some pretty big ideas, and it's important to note that it's not just a choice between the president and some land of perfection. it's the president versus, well, what are the republican ideas. when you look at health care, the thing that's important, there are problems with the rollout. there were problems with the website. but they were all problems that could be fixed. they're clearly getting fixed. the republicans have done the only thing they could do politically that would be helpful to democrats, which is support the position that american people don't support, which is repeal. american people want to fix it, not end it. >> i want to talk about my favorite thing to talk about, joy, which is the minimum wage. i think that -- this is something the president has made
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overtures about, state of the union, he's talked about it occasionally here and there. i feel like this was the most vocal push, and it's coming on the eve of major protests in 100 cities in the u.s. among -- what i feel like is a real grassroots movement to get a livable wage for american workers, he didn't mention the sea-tac workers in washington state who got voters to approve a measure increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is a big deal if you're a worker at the sea-tac airport. >> no, i agree with you, and it's one of my favorite topics too. over the decades, there have been so many things that interrupted a discussion about inequality. the right has been very strategic about throwing side issues in the way so we never got to have this debate. it really does unite americans across racial, ethnic, regional lines. this idea of i'm not doing better than my parents. they would throw social issues out there. they've sort of divided workers with things like abortion, with
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things like, you know, anti-union rhetoric and things that have turned workers against the idea of unionization. so we haven't really had that discussion. during the obama administration we haven't because of the constant barrage of republican attacks on anything that the president did. so he hasn't had the opportunity to do this narrative that really sort of speaks to who he is as a politici politician. but now he's getting the opportunity. >> and i think it's really worth pointing out that the minimum wage -- and steve cole says this better than i do or will. i will read what he wrote, which is, it is not an entitlement program. it's much harder to be against a raise in the minimum wage if you're a conservative for these reasons. it's always been in part civic and moral. minimum wages do not create new entitlement programs or otherwise enjoin the country's sterile debates about the value of government. they're designed to ensure that the dignity of work includes true economic independence for all who embrace it.
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the president recalled the words of adam smith and said, for those of you that don't speak english, if you work hard, you should make a decent living. that's a conservative principle as much as it is anything else. >> polls have showed the minimum wage has a ton of pop with people. i've noticed in the last couple months that readers of "the huffington post," maybe a third republicans and the rest independents and democrats, have really responded to minimum wage stories. it's been surprising. we've been -- you know, we've been covering low-wage issues for years now and have several reporters dedicated to it. and we've never had anything catch on like the minimum wage. part of it is dignity. they feel like if you work full time, you ought to have a dignified existence. the other part is they're sick of subsidizing walmart executives. they now are finally making that connection. that walmart and mcdonald's executives are getting rich while their workers are on food stamps, on medicaid, on all
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these public subsidies. so the public is saying, well, why would we subsidize executives. >> or mcdonald's is encouraging people to apply for food stamps. john, in terms of the debate on this, you know, the president paraphrased some conservative thinkers who argue against raising the minimum wage. if you look at what states are doing -- i mean, arizona, florida, missouri and nevada, red or swing-ish states have raised the minimum wage. this is not this notion of paying workers more, it's not simply a blue-state idea. >> yes, and i wouldn't rule out the possibility that depending on what the political circumstances next year that some deal might not be struck. you know, the history of minimum wage is that republicans have resisted democratic calls for raising the minimum wage until the last minute and then sometimes they cut a deal. i will say that republican leaders in the house and senate, i think, are looking or paying closest attention to a different
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group of republicans than "the huffington post" republicans ryan was just talking about. >> "the huffington post" republicans, is that a phrase you just used? but bill, to the point of, you know, who supports the minimum wage and who is the american worker that stands to benefit from a raise, i think it's really important to point this out. the average age of those earning the federal minimum wage or less, look at this chart. 16 to 19-year-olds make up 24% of those. but 20 to 39-year-olds make up 52% of the americans earns the federal minimum wage. it's not just your teenage neighbor who works at kentucky fried chicken. this is someone who has a family, who's trying to subsist on $15,000 a year. twonch >> two things on this. first, if you strip away the morality of whether or not you should get a fair wage for an honest day's work, this is something that is just good for business. it helps business have more customers who are buying more products. if walmart was paying their workers more money, they could go and buy some of those canned
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goods at walmart instead of having to have them donated. on those demographics you just showed, the reason this whole basket of issues of wage equality are important is because if you look at the emerging electorate, if you look at the age group here, look at unmarried women, if you look at hispanic voters, they make up a much larger share of minimum wage earners and low-wage earners. republicans, as the president points out, have no ideas on how to help them and how to deal with that piece of the economy. and so politically, this is a disaster for republicans. but economically, it's bad for business to have your workers not making enough money. >> but isn't it also true that, i think, thanks to the great recession and that huge cliff that so many americans fell off, for the first time, a lot of americans found themselves in the working class or in the lower-middle class. people who probably never confronted or cared about these issues. you have a lot of americans who are finding themselves in that boat that they used to think was just minorities, just single women, just single moms. now it's them, and it's them and
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their husbands and families and people who have been the long-term jobless older workers. so you're having a much broader swath of americans that are now confronting head on the issues of inequality in their own lives. >> and, you know, john, the president again reiterated the staggering statistic that 50% of retirees have no savings. i think i may be paraphrasing that slightly incorrectly. but it's a dramatic number of people whose savings were gutted or have nothing to retire on and the implications in terms of the social safety net in the coming decades are dramatic. >> exactly. just as we learned yesterday that the public pensions of some of those detroit municipal workers may not be protected in bankruptcy proceedings, you have a whole category of people who don't have any pensions at all, as you just indicated. i do think it's also important that the president went right at the issue of racial polarization on this. this is something i asked him about when i interviewed him a
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few weeks ago because when you look at a lot of public opinion data now, you see dramatically different attitudes by race, and the president made the argument at that time when i raised that, that look, most of the people who would benefit from subsidized health care on those exchanges are going to be white americans. he's trying to do the same thing in talking about the other elements of his agenda on income inequality to get over that racial polarization. >> cnbc's john harwood. thank you as always, my friend. >> you bet. ampblt programming note. be sure to tune into america's favorite show "hardball" tomorrow night when chris matthews goes one on one with president obama. that is thursday at 7:00 p.m. eastern. do not miss it. after the break, john boehner faces a new round of intraparty battling by hiring a staffer with a strong immigration reform resume. can the speaker navigate the narrow path to comprehensive reform? we will discuss when victoria soto joins else next on "now." (announcer) at scottrade, our clients trade and invest
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the day building a play set begins with a surprise twinge of back pain... and a choice. take up to 4 advil in a day or 2 aleve for all day relief. [ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪ all white meat chicken was made to be blanketed in golden breadcrumbs. with whipped mashed potatoes, topped with a thick homemade gravy. so she makes her country fried chicken to be eaten together. so they savor every last bite. marie callender's.
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the fight for immigration reform continues after a 22-day fast on the national mall. four immigration advocates broke bread yesterday in a ceremony attended by democratic big wigs, including nancy pelosi. recalling his grandfather robert kennedy's support for the farm worker fast half a century ago, joseph kennedy iii pledged to fast for 24 hours. >> we have always relied on those who are fearless enough to challenge us to be that better country that we can be. >> the effort has earned the support of an administration looking for new ways to push for reform. on friday, the president and first lady dropped by the fasters' tend on the mall. two weeks ago, vice president joe biden stopped in. for now, the activists seem less focused on the president than the man at the other end of
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pennsylvania avenue. reverend bernice king put it on tuesday -- >> so to our brother, mr. boehner, representative boehner, the best time is now. the right time is now. the correct time is now and the only time is now. >> in fact, the time may actually be now, raising hopes that reform might finally be passed in 2014. john boehner announced the hiring of a veteran immigration expert and former john mccain chief of staff rebecca talent. but no good deed goes unpunished, especially in the gop. as soon as boehner's new hire became republican, reform opponents pounced. head of the anti-reform center on immigration studies wrote, the republican party leadership really does seem dead set on
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satisfying corporate demands and trying to ram amnesty down the throats of its own voters. joining us now is professor at the lbj school of public policy at the university of texas, victoria s victoria soto. thank you, as always. i'm reminded of the old adage, once burned, twice shy. i think it is great that speaker boehner is bringing in someone who knows a thing or two about immigration reform. should we be optimistic? >> you know, alex, i have been a debbie downer about the whole comprehensive immigration reform for a while now. the truth is, i'm not much more optimistic about comprehensive immigration reform. i think that the talent hire maybe signals there's going to be a move to do something about immigration. again, i'm very nervous about this. the house says, we want to do a piecemeal approach, but the hidden message behind that is, we have to do border enforcement before we do anything else. so let's say that there's a border enforcement bill that's
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passed in the house and maybe in the senate and it goes through, but what happens then? we have budget deals, we have debt ceilings, we have campaigns and elections coming in 2014. what's to say, oops, we didn't get to the other parts of immigration, but now we have more fence and more enforcement on the board rder. >> you know, the activists have not let this go. there's this day of fasting. there are a host of, you know, sort of sit-ins and engagement with republicans who have been intransigent on the issue. this issue is not going away for them, but if, as vicky outlines, the only measures they pass are punitive ones, i think that actually stands them in worst stead with americans in general than if they were to do nothing. >> oh, i think that's abundantly clear. because the bill that democrats and immigration advocates are willing to accept at this point is one that a lot of people are
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having a hard time swallowing because of this, like, $30 billion to $40 billion they want to throw at militarizing the border and just turning the border. when they say border, you know, they mean dozens of miles outside of the border encompassing tens of millions of peoples' lives. if you happen to live in that, and millions of people do, then you're going to live in this militarized police state that has, you know, billions of dollars thrown at it. they're already willing to accept this so that republicans can say they got, you know, whatever they got and these companies can get -- >> well, presumably to what, to placate business interests? except that business interests are actually talking about how -- >> they want to get tough on people. if you're doing something nice for someone, you have to hit them in the face at the same time. >> well, the problem is that republicans, especially in the house, have a completely different set of incentives. even if business interests -- remember, business interests didn't want to shut the government down. except at the very last minute,
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leadership will listen to them like boehner. but your average house, right-wing republican is going home to a base that has very little minority, and they want border enforcement. that's all they want. i'm with vicky. i think the most likely outcome is they just do that because that helps them get re-elected in primaries. that's all they care about. >> and it's such a long-term problem for them. the country is changing. arizona is changing. texas is changing. the republican party is just not keeping up with where the electorate is and how it's emerging into a new reality. >> well, vicky, i guess rebecca talent wrote, the problem with the advocacy movement is they never had a real working relationship with republicans and therefore don't know how to even discuss reform with them. they use the same pressure tactics as they would with democrats, and it just isn't working. today, harry reid said boehner is going to cave on immigration reform. so it seems like that strategy of pressure is not going anywhere, but do you think there's any truth to that?
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>> i don't necessarily agree with that, alex. i think the crux of the issue, and we all tiptoe around it, is the issue of the pathway to citizenship. the democrats have been very strong on saying, we want the whole enchilada or nothing. we want citizenship or we're not going to play ball. and i think we're getting to that point where maybe we have to think about the lesser of two evils. do we accept legalization but not a pathway to citizenship to bring those people out of the shadows? and it's incredibly difficult because you have folks that say, well, that way i can come out of the shadows and live safely and not worry about getting deported, but at the same time, are we going to have a permanent second-class citizen group? so i think that's a conversation that democrats are going to have to have whether they like it or not. >> you know, i must bring in joy because this is news of the day-ish. when we talk about how much room someone like john boehner or rebecca talent or john mccain, who tweeted in raise of her appoi appointment, how much room they have within their own party. here you have these sort of
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moderate progressive republicans, if you will. then you have governor scott walker, who may be running in 2016 who has someone in his office sending out bigoted tweets who happens to be the deputy finance director for his campaign. bigoted tweets about quote/unquote illegal mexican immigrants who were bothering her on a bus. there is a latent racism when it comes to the issue of illegal immigration that is very hard to quell within the republican ranks, and i'm not sure anybody is courageous enough to really address it. . >> exactly. because you know what the response to something like that is? she doesn't have people on the right saying, oh, my god, how could you say that? she has people saying, yeah, right on, exactly. >> it is worth noting governor walker did let her go, but she did tweet this stuff two years ago. >> in her twitter stream, it's not as if people on the right are jumping on board and saying that's out of bounds. that kind of humor people feel like political correctness and not letting people use that quote/unquote humor. so for the right, they have an issue of having to have someone
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send up to their base. john mccain was doing build the dang fence. he wasn't being courageous. he abandoned his own proposal. now he's safe. he can go back to being for it. >> there is something important about the language that gets used here. you know, maybe using the term illegals and illegal alien doesn't make the problem of immigration worse, but it does make it harder to solve. so if that's how republicans come to the table, it's going to be hard to built a coalition on the right. but back to that piece you read, i totally disagree with that. i actually think that folks like the national immigration forum are doing very smart things. they've got this coalition called bibles, badges and guns. i'm probably mixing up the order. they go to the law enforcement community, they work with the religious community, and they find the difficult segments of the republican base that actually are reasonable and are for reform and are trying to lemplg that to get some action. a lot of attention has been on this fast, but there's a lot of
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other efforts happening out there. >> it's evangelicals pushing this, business interests. the question is, what motivates? what's the motor in the modern republican party in terms of policy? mostly because they haven't had to propose any real policy. but at the end of the day, at some point, somebody's got to make a decision. do we listen to the people who are writing about illegal immigrants as scourge of the earth or side with everybody else? >> basically, they have two times on the calendar to do it. they can do it after a primary filing deadline has gone through or in a lame duck. they're not going to be able to do it at the beginning of a session. so we're actually coming into those two periods now. >> vicky, you wanted to get in there. >> yeah, i wanted to jump on what ryan was saying about the fact that illegal, using that term illegal alien dehumanizes people. and that's something that the republicans have been able to stand on in order to not move on immigration. and what we've been seeing these past couple of weeks with the fasts, with the dreamers going
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and camping outside of boehner's house and dreamers going to the diner boehner goes to is an attempt to humanize undocumented persons. so we think about undocumented persons, we hear about immigration, but it's something that's really far removed for the vast majority of americans. we don't have folks who are undocumented in our families it or probably not our neighbors. but when we see these images of people going for three weeks without food, suddenly something clicks. that's the hope of the immigration reform movement, that we can put the human face to it. >> illegal immigrants are people too. corporations are not. university of texas professor victoria soto, thanks for your time. >> take care. >> coming up, there are new reports that pope francis has a big secret, one other than the fact that he once worked as a nightclub bouncer. we have a look at what else the pontiff may be up to after dark just ahead. if i can impart one lesson to a
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there are dozens of reasons to love pope francis. his recent comments about income inequality are no exception. even president obama weighed in on the pontiff during his speech this morning. >> the pope himself spoke about this at eloquent length. how can it be, he wrote, that it's not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? >> and now there is yet another reason to love pope francis. it is what he does after dark. we'll explain next. turn to roc® retinol correxion®. one week, fine lines appear to fade. one month, deep wrinkles look smoother. after one year, skin looks ageless. high performance skincare™ only from roc®. take skincare to the next level
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he drives a 30-year-old car. he likes felini films.
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h he knows the tango. and he's worked as a nightclub bouncer to pay the bills. no, he's not a hipster that works odd jobs to make ends meet. he's the pope. and he also has a secret night life. yesterday "the huffington post" reported that the pontiff has been ducking out of the vatican dressed as a regular priest in order to minister to the homeless in rome. among his many alter egos, it has been revealed that pope francis also swept floors and worked in a chemistry lab, which like bouncer and catholic batman, is not typically on the cv for pope. but bucking tradition and living in the real world seems to be part of pope francis' dna. as archbishop, he ditched his own ride for public transportation and cooked modest meals in his own apartment. he opted instead to live in the vatican guest house. explaining his rejection of material wealth, francis wrote last week, i prefer a church
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which is bruised, hurting, and dirty because it has been out on the streets. beyond the lifestyle choices, there is much to appreciate in proep francis' words. asked about gay catholics this summer, he responded, who am i to judge? and in a manifesto released last week, the pope blasted trickle-down economics as an idea. never confirmed by the facts. pope francis is indeed unconstrained by the traditional politics of the church and his willingness to wade into thorny issues was made evident in his latest guest list, which last week included russian president vladimir poout tin and on monday included israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu, with whom rereportedly discussed iran's nuclear program. and so pope francis, you are unpredictable and humble and also seem to be a pretty awesome guy. all of which we expect might just result in more believers showing up to your door, even if you aren't working one anymore. that is all for "now." thank you to ryan, bill, and
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joy. i will see you back here tomorrow at noon eastern. "andrea mitchell reports" is coming up next. let love shine. the celebration collection, expertly cut, exceptionally brilliant. zales is the diamond store. try align. it's the number one ge recommended probiotic that helps maintain digestive balance. ♪ stay in the groove with align.
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nestle. good food, good life. the injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhuma inhumane. well, not anymore. >> right now on "andrea mitchell reports," stand and deliver. the president is fighting back against health care critics while acknowledging his team's rocky rollout. >> between a reckless shutdown by congressional republicans in order to appeal the affordable care act and admittedly poor execution in implementing the latest stage of the new law. >> circling the globe. secretary of state john kerry and vice president joe biden meeting with allies and adversaries on issues from

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NOW With Alex Wagner
MSNBC December 4, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PST

News/Business. Alex Wagner. Forces driving the day's stories. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Francis 9, America 8, Boehner 7, Huffington 5, Washington 4, John 3, John Mccain 3, Nestle 3, John Boehner 3, Victoria Soto 2, Joe Biden 2, Adam Smith 2, Andrea Mitchell 2, Harry Truman 2, Campbell 2, John Harwood 2, Vicky 2, Chicago 2, Congress 1, Nationwide Insurance 1
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